This week’s mission is simple and fun–gift planning. Let’s jump right in like me diving into my mom’s cookie platter on Christmas morning. Mmm-mmm.

Twelve Weeks of Simple Christmas - Week 3: Plan Your Gift List

Planning Your Gift List

1. Write down everyone (and I do mean everyone) who receives gifts from you at Christmas.

2. Jot down what you would like to give them this Christmas.

3. Go back and look at your budget from week 2. Write next to each person’s name how much you can spend.

4. Cross off the items you would like to give people for Christmas, and write down what you realistically can give them.

5. Once your list is solid, start buying, baking, or making with a goal of being finished by December 1. My goal is November 1–ack! If you are planning on homemade gifts, schedule a timeframe for making them and include it in your calendar. (Obviously, food gifts may need an extension on that–nothing says “Jesus is born” like a container of stale cookies.)

6. Tattoo your list on your arm. That’s my way of saying stick to the list and record everything! If you see an amazing tool your husband needs and it’s on sale and you have to buy it, do so, but cross off “ugly sweater,” so you’re not over-spending. Also, include the cost of everything you buy, even the chapstick for his stocking and the ingredients for the cookies you’re giving the mailman. You might have to adjust (or live on beans and rice for a while) to make your budget work.

Just a note:

In the real world, sometimes people are busy, evasive, or disinterested in thrilling topics such as the budget. In my case, I often need to work on my timing–no man wants to talk budgets during a Packer game, duh! If that’s your situation, do what I’ve done in years past, and move ahead the best you can based on what you know. If you know what your budget has been in previous years, and you know how or if your circumstance has changed, write down those estimates and share them as a conversation igniter after a green and gold win.

I’ve got a few tips for creative frugality in my next post. Until then, see you in aisle 7.

Accountability Time

How did you do on last week’s mission, budgeting your holidays?

I did bring up our Christmas budget to my husband at our weekly planning meeting. We went over our budget, assessed our current responsibilities, and discussed our need to reorder all four of our CDs. It’s bleak…bleaker than the past several years. Music missionaries don’t have big Christmas accounts, and this year falls pretty much on my shoulders.

I have my tidy stash from Mr. Rebates, Ebates, Pinecone Research, and Swagbucks, which generally covers a child at Christmas. I have something tucked away from my Amazon commission which I earn whenever anybody shops through my Amazon link. We are reusing our two-year-old’s unopened birthday gifts ($2.75 expenditure at a garage sale) for Christmas. That leaves six kids and a husband, as well as nieces, nephews, moms…. We don’t have a pastor, teachers, neighbors, or a mailman since we’re on the road full-time.

I spent most of my article-selling money on homeschool books, but I can still write. I’ll be doing a little extra article work until then, grabbing some low hanging fruit, so to speak.

I did not write down any solid numbers, because I haven’t any…except 50%. Cut costs by 50%. Who doesn’t love a holiday challenge?

How are you doing on your missions? Share your progress in the comments.

Don't stress this Christmas!